The Revolution is Here
The single most positive impact of Donald Trump’s presidency is the awakening of women. While he likes to proclaim that he alone can make things happen, he is simply the apotheosis of a long simmering march towards equality and justice that has Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Gloria Steinem, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and yes, Hillary Clinton, and as the antecedents. As well as Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein.
But a special kind of feminine power surge has emerged since Trump took office amidst the revelation of serial abuse in the workplace, by powerful men. Women are pissed, strong, united, and will no longer be cowed by denunciation and humiliation (except for one horrific Supreme Court nominee controlled by the Republican Senate). It’s stunning to witness women stepping into their personhood. They don’t have to look like their male counterparts. The new Congress is the most racially diverse lawmaking body ever in America (102 women composed of Muslims, Latinos, Native Americans and African Americans). Except on the Republican side of course, which is still composed of mostly older, white men.
There’s the venerable fashionista Nancy Pelosi, the butt of many noxious Republican jokes, owning the president on the border wall theater. With Trump being effectively neutered, is she now perhaps the most powerful person in America?
The rough-hewn white boys from the south are sensing their power slipping away. And nothing is more terrifying to them than the 29-year-old rabble-rouser brown-skinned freshman congresswoman named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She’s even stunned the traditional Democratic machinery with her upset victory. And it’s all because she’s not afraid to speak truth to power.
Alexandria is as feminine as they come, with a thousand watt smile, great dance moves, a cogent progressive platform, and a fearless swagger the Republican Party has no ideas how to contain. She said in 60 minutes without hesitation that Donald Trump was a racist. And backed it up with facts. She is advancing the most ambitious green economy ever to combat climate change. She wants to tax the rich—up to 70 percent—after their first $10 million in income. This wasn’t a radical idea until espoused by “The Little Girl” from Brooklyn, according to Republican strategist Ed Rollins. She countered by calling him a “walking argument for a 100 percent tax on misogyny.”
Alexandria is perhaps the poster child for the next political generation of women and minorities. But she is in no way alone. It’s the new face of America. And while Fox News’ predominantly white and blonde hosts continue to shriek about an America under siege by dangerous minorities, everywhere else are increasing signs of a new America of diversity and tolerance. One flip of the channel to MSNBC’s “Politics Nation,” and you’ll find Al Sharpton, Michael, Steele, Danielle Moody-Mills, and Michelle Goldberg—three blacks, two women and a Jew. And the smartest anchor on TV is openly gay Rachel Maddow. And finally, there’s Rashida Tlaib, the proud hijab-wearing, Qur’an-swearing Kenyan who made history as the first Palestinian-American in Congress—and who also called Trump exactly what most of us know he is.
In the 2020 presidential race, the three Democrats who have so far officially declared their candidacies are Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro (Hispanic former head of HUD), and yes, Marianne Williamson. The cynics will dismiss Marianne as a left wing nut job, but anyone who has seen her speak or read her books knows she is an intellectual giant on spiritual matters, as Elizabeth Warren is on banking and Wall Street abuse. Even if Marianne has no chance, her megaphone will raise the level of discourse to a decidedly higher vibration. Perhaps she will be one of the trim tabs Jeff Bridges mentioned at the Golden Globes. We may also see the likes of Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand and Tulsi Gabbard (the 37-year-old Hawaiian Hindu surfer).
Women aren’t merely achieving equality. They are showing us the bold way forward to break the hegemony of white men and lead us to a kinder, more humane planet.
Even pop culture is marking the shift. Witness the spate of recent insurgent films where women were the secret genius behind their powerful husbands’ successes—like “The Wife,” “Big Eyes,” and the fascinating “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women.” It was a poignant real-life moment when Glenn Close, receiving her Golden Globe for her understated, repressed role in “The Wife,” talked about how her mother felt unfulfilled at 80, having never done anything for herself.
Those days are over. Women have demonstrated the mettle to resist the policies of this administration more than any other group. The mothers, healers, nurturers, and goddesses are rising up, and here to save us all.
Billy Fried hosts “Laguna Talks” on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. on KX93.5 and can be reached at [email protected].